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The transformation of European economies from pre-capitalist to capita

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The transformation of European economies from pre-capitalist to capita  [#permalink]

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The transformation of European economies from
pre-capitalist to capitalist, between the 16th
and 18th centuries, is often portrayed as a
process that followed the iron logic of the
5 pursuit of economic self-interest by all its
participants, with traders acting as the primary catalysts for the transition.

In fact, this portrayal neglects a crucial
element of the pre-capitalist, subsistence-oriented
economic production—namely, its
10 tendency for self-perpetuation. Self-interest
dictated that both the peasants and the
feudal lords maintain the pattern of
diversified subsistence production rather than
embark on specialized production for exchange.
15 The peasants were owners of the land on which they
farmed, and did not yet have to face threats of
competition for land leases or eviction by the
landowners, common in the era of capitalist
economic organization. They produced nearly
20 everything they needed in order to survive and
had little incentive to abandon their economic
autonomy. As for the feudal lords, they lived
off the surplus produced by the peasants, which
they easily commandeered by force of arms rather
25 than by economic means. It can be argued that
they also had little incentive to change this
arrangement.

Yet despite the strong force of inertia evident in
pre-capitalist economic arrangements, they
30 ultimately gave way to a new capitalist system of
production, even though this process was more
unevenly paced in different countries than is
sometimes assumed. There is a very general
explanation for this whose central tenet is that
35 while the pre-capitalist economist actors strove to
perpetuate the system of subsistence production,
some of the actions they chose in pursuit of this
goal had the unintended consequence of undermining
the very system they wanted to preserve and
40 ushering in an economic revolution.



What is the primary purpose of the passage?

a) To give a detailed evaluation of a new explanation for the origin of capitalist economy in Europe.
b) To detail a flaw in the traditional description of the transformation of European economy and propose a new account.
c) To portray the exploitation of peasants in pre-capitalist Europe by the feudal lords.
d) To explain why the economic productivity in Europe started rising between the 16th and the 18th Century.
e) To demonstrate that capitalist economy was more in tune with the self-interest of its participants than the pre-capitalist economy.


According to the passage, what is the main flaw of the traditional portrayal of the transition from pre-capitalist to capitalist economies in Europe?

a) It falsely represents the capitalist mode of production as both a goal and a product of economic self-interest.
b) It does not account for the uneven pace of the transition in different European countries.
c) It assumes that the economic power wielded over peasants by traders was exercised more benevolently than that of feudal lords.
d) It assumes that the economic processes of innovation and specialization are driven by economic self-interest.
e) It denies the importance of innovation for pre-capitalist producers.


The passage mentions peasant competition for land leases primarily in order to:

a) prove the existence of incentives to better productivity in the capitalist system.
b) highlight the continuity of peasant hardship from the old to the new era.
c) contrast it with the lack of such economic pressures in the pre-capitalist era.
d) strengthen the point that peasants continued to be the main economic producers.
e) indicate the main reason for greater agricultural productivity in the capitalist system.


What can one infer from the passage about economic innovation?

a) That its pace was similar in most European countries.
b) That its only agents were traders.
c) That the European agriculture was in sore need of it.
d) That it does not always accompany the capitalist system of production.
e) That it was not likely to take place in the pre-capitalist economic system.


Which of the following would be a likely place where one could find this passage?

a) As the conclusion of an essay criticizing the inequities of the capitalist system of production.
b) As a part of a review of a book that presents as its main thesis that transition to capitalism was a goal of economic producers.
c) As a part of a larger article arguing that the waning of the chivalric virtue carried by pre-capitalist lords is to be lamented.
d) As an introduction to a fuller description of a new historical model of transition to capitalism.
e) As a short correction of views expressed earlier in a recent longer article by the same author.



Which of the following is indicated in the passage as the primary reason for the inertia of the pre-capitalist economic system?

a) The fact that perpetuating that system was in the self-interest of its participants.
b) The fact that its participants were strongly resistant to the introduction of innovative farming methods.
c) The fact that the traders did not command enough goods for exchange prior to the 16th Century.
d) The force wielded over the peasants by the lords.
e) The modest subsistence needs of pre-capitalist farmers.


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Originally posted by globaldesi on 06 Jan 2019, 11:56.
Last edited by globaldesi on 08 Jan 2019, 09:56, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The transformation of European economies from pre-capitalist to capita  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jan 2019, 09:57
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workout can you add 700 tag to this question. I am unable to update the tag
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Re: The transformation of European economies from pre-capitalist to capita  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jan 2019, 21:10
globaldesi wrote:
workout can you add 700 tag to this question. I am unable to update the tag


globaldesi Thanks. I added the 700 tag.

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Re: The transformation of European economies from pre-capitalist to capita  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jan 2019, 10:20
1
5 mins 36 secs to all correct. Relatively easy passage.

The passage talks about the misconception about the assumption that pre-capitalists to capitalist transition in the economy was natural and it followed when everyone was working under selfish interests ( an idea similar to invisible hand ). This misconception stems from neglecting the tendency for self-perpetuation that existed in pre-capitalist economies of Europe. The passage goes on to substantiate that with logic and finally says the pursuit to continue with the system worked against it and finally ushered the new economic system - the passage does not say how or why.


What is the primary purpose of the passage?
a) To give a detailed evaluation of a new explanation for the origin of capitalist economy in Europe. No evaluations are made
b) To detail a flaw in the traditional description of the transformation of European economy and propose a new account. Correct choice.
c) To portray the exploitation of peasants in pre-capitalist Europe by the feudal lords. Too detailed to be the main purpose.
d) To explain why the economic productivity in Europe started rising between the 16th and the 18th Century. Irreleavant - only the reasons behind the shift from pre-capitalist to capitalist is described
e) To demonstrate that capitalist economy was more in tune with the self-interest of its participants than the pre-capitalist economy. Opposite idea.

Still dealing with the first paragraph of the passage
According to the passage, what is the main flaw of the traditional portrayal of the transition from pre-capitalist to capitalist economies in Europe?
a) It falsely represents the capitalist mode of production as both a goal and a product of economic self-interest. Perfect - self-interest of the pre-capitalist people was to continue as is - but something worked against the system
b) It does not account for the uneven pace of the transition in different European countries. TRAP - not related to the flaw but does give an indicator of it.
c) It assumes that the economic power wielded over peasants by traders was exercised more benevolently than that of feudal lords. Out of scope of question
d) It assumes that the economic processes of innovation and specialization are driven by economic self-interest. Yes - but opposite of what we awre looking for.
e) It denies the importance of innovation for pre-capitalist Out of scope

Think like a CR question - why is this brought up in the passage?
The passage mentions peasant competition for land leases primarily in order to:
a) prove the existence of incentives to better productivity in the capitalist system. Real world trap answer - this could be the case but the passage does not mention this
b) highlight the continuity of peasant hardship from the old to the new era. Out of scope and irrelevant to the discussion
c) contrast it with the lack of such economic pressures in the pre-capitalist era. BINGO - this idea is introduced to show what the pre-capitalist era lacked and how it may have wanted them to continue as is...
d) strengthen the point that peasants continued to be the main economic producers. Irrelevant
e) indicate the main reason for greater agricultural productivity in the capitalist system. Irrelevant

An application of knowledge kind of question - we know innovation is needed for being competitive & pre-capitalist society did not have much competiton as everyone was self sufficient and there was not much trade
What can one infer from the passage about economic innovation?
a) That its pace was similar in most European countries. TRAP - the transition from pre-capitalist to capitalist was not consistent across Europe but we cannot correlate the two ( Real world trap)
b) That its only agents were traders. too strong and cannot be inferred
c) That the European agriculture was in sore need of it. Vague and irrelevant
d) That it does not always accompany the capitalist system of production. Real world trap - if this was a CR question this could have been a very lucrative answer
e) That it was not likely to take place in the pre-capitalist economic system. Perfect - the pre-capitalist economy did not push people towards it as everyone was in a comfortable place without much competition.

This question requires an understanding of the main point of the passage - the passage just wants to assert that the olden idea ( pre-cap -> capitalist transition was due to self interest of all parties involved
Which of the following would be a likely place where one could find this passage?
a) As the conclusion of an essay criticizing the inequities of the capitalist system of production. critisizing is not being done
b) As a part of a review of a book that presents as its main thesis that transition to capitalism was a goal of economic producers. TRAP - "the goal of economic producers" puts us off - we were told that it was an unexpected consequence and nobody aimed for it per say. Discard.
c) As a part of a larger article arguing that the waning of the chivalric virtue carried by pre-capitalist lords is to be lamented. Too vague to be inferred.
d) As an introduction to a fuller description of a new historical model of transition to capitalism. Right - this is the main idea. New historic model and the old ideas were flawed
e) As a short correction of views expressed earlier in a recent longer article by the same author. Short correction is where this option is wrong.

Easy detail question
Which of the following is indicated in the passage as the primary reason for the inertia of the pre-capitalist economic system?
a) The fact that perpetuating that system was in the self-interest of its participants. Verbatim from the passage
b) The fact that its participants were strongly resistant to the introduction of innovative farming methods. There did not resist anything, they just did not have the need for anything new.
c) The fact that the traders did not command enough goods for exchange prior to the 16th Century. out of context and also not mentioned in the passage at all.
d) The force wielded over the peasants by the lords. Discard for same reason as above
e) The modest subsistence needs of pre-capitalist farmers. MAJOR TRAP - this is only half right - as the system included both farmers and also the landlords - both were happy.

Hope these explanations are of help to you! :-)
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Re: The transformation of European economies from pre-capitalist to capita  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Jan 2019, 09:12
Question 1:
Answer B: (B) best captures the purpose of the passage. (A) is incorrect because the new explanation is merely suggested at the end of the passage, not given a detailed evaluation. (C), the exploitation of peasants, is mentioned as merely a detail. (D) is out of scope: the passage does not explain increases in productivity. And (E) is completely inappropriate, as the passage is explicit that pre-capitalist arrangements were in tune with the self-interest of the pre-capitalist economic actors.


Question 2:
Paragraph 2 explains in detail why the representation mentioned in (A) is flawed. (B), the lack of attention given to the uneven pace of transition to capitalism, is mentioned at the end, but only as a secondary flaw of traditional accounts of the transition. (C) is incorrect because the passage says nothing about traders' control over peasants nor does it compare it with the power of the lords. And (D) is out as well: the passage does not deny that innovation and specialization are driven by self-interest, only that this kind of self-interest should pertain to pre-capitalist producers. Finally, (E) is incorrect because the passage does not indicate that pre-capitalist innovation is usually not given its due importance.

Question 3:
Competition for land leases is mentioned as something pre-capitalist peasants did not have to undertake since they owned the land. (A) is not correct because the existence of capitalist incentives is outside the scope of feudalism, a pre-capitalist regime. (B) is out because the continuity of peasant hardship is not the topic of the passage and necessitates no highlighting. With (D), the point that peasants were the main economic producers is not explicitly made, so it doesn't need strengthening.

Question 4:

In paragraph 1, innovation is indicated as something that not only accompanies the capitalist system but also is forced by it (contrary to (D)). In contrast, the pre-capitalist system is indicated as not possessing the incentives for innovation. If innovation accompanies capitalism, and capitalism advanced unevenly, then innovation probably did also, contrary to (A). (B) is incorrect because traders are mentioned as initiators of transition to capitalism, not agents of innovation, and because they are mentioned only as “primary agents” of transition, not the “only” ones. And (C) is out because nothing is indicated about the needs of European agriculture.


Question 5:
The passage would work well as an introduction to a fuller historical description, (D). (B), a review, wouldn't be appropriate, since the organization of the passage is not predominantly critical; any criticism here seems just to lead up to the introduction of a solution. (C) is totally inappropriate, since virtue or chivalry of the lords is not discussed in the passage (merely their commandeering of resources).


Question 6:
The system was supported by the self-interest of those involved. Lack of goods for exchange, (C), would preclude capitalism, but isn't the primary reason for the perpetuation of pre-capitalist arrangements. Peasants are portrayed as sticking to the pre-capitalist mode of production through self-interest, not coercion, contrary to what (D) implies. And (E), subsistence needs of the farmers, are not indicated as a cause for the inertia.
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Re: The transformation of European economies from pre-capitalist to capita &nbs [#permalink] 13 Jan 2019, 09:12
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